region/ The Scalabrini
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The Scalabrini

Legend of disputed borders

The dispute between the landowners of Isone and St. Anthony over the boundaries of the Leveno and Revolte alps had been dragging on since the landfogesque era, with no satisfactory solution found for either side. Antagonisms and hatreds were passed down from generation to generation. Eager to come once to a solution, the parties decided to refer the matter to three foreign arbitrators: a priest, a lawyer and a doctor, all three from the Scalabrini family. Those of Isone, rough shepherds but sly insidious, the night before the inspection - legend has it - transported, on three vigorous mules, the arbitrators to the Serdena Alp. They filled them with every good thing and bought them to their cause with a chapel of marenghi. Thus, on the morning of that memorable day, as the St. Anthony delegates confidently ascended the north slope of the Maggina Valley, the three referees poured into their shoes, big mountaineer shoes, some soil from the "court" of Serdena, the unchallenged territory of the Isoonians, and, having experienced the strange footing, went to the disputed crags. The meeting of the parties was friendly. They argued, but good-naturedly. One of the arbitrators, the lawyer, made a proposal: "We have come up here to decide this debated matter once and for all. Men of God, of law and of sanity, we have dissected the matter with science and conscience. Before we give our verdict, however, we set a definite condition, this one: 'each party must declare beforehand that he accepts our judgment, whatever it may be.' And he continued with a long, truly lawyerly speech, demonstrating the need to establish good relations between the "neighbors," to finally resolve the thorny issue. The naive Morobbiots, won over by the oratorical eagerness, took the bait and accepted the mailed condition. So did the Isoonians, but with a certain perplexity, to better mask the insidiousness. Solemn, the three arbitrators then took themselves beyond a certain boundary, downstream, on land claimed by those of St. Anthony, then shouted in chorus, raising three fingers of their right hands: We swear that our feet rest on the land of Ison. And nothing else was heard from their mouths; a furious thunderstorm caught them and carried them far away, to the crags of Camoghé! From then on they go, without rest, crying out eternal remorse. Our shepherds assure that as a storm approaches, they see there the three Scalabrini wandering on the inaccessible cliffs of the Maggina Valley. Sometimes," they add, "they roll boulders, tree trunks and put the herds to flight.

Excerpted from the book "The Taste of Time - The Morobbia Valley" by Silvano Codiroli.